W3C | Architecture Domain

Object Technology and the Web

This is an investigation of the integration of distributed object technologies with the web, and the duality between application programmer interfaces (APIs) and network protocols.

This investigation recently (July 97) culminated in the lauch of a new W3C Architecture Domain Activity: HTTP-NG - The Next Generation.



The power of the Web as a new medium derives not only from its ability to allow people to communicate across vast distances and different times, but also from the ability of machines to help people communicate and manage information. The Web is a complex distributed system, and Object Technology has been an important part of managing the complexity of the Web from its creation.

Object Technology continues to influence and impact the web in a number of areas:

Client side scripting has been an interesting area of research and experimentation since the early days of the web, but now it being deployed, and information providers need interoperable support. See also: Document Object Model and HTML with scripting markup.
Embedded Multimedia Components
The web is a natural medium for component software technology such as Plug-Ins, Java applets, ActiveX controls, OpenDoc parts. See also: Inserting Objects into HTML.
Web Server Components
CGI, along with HTML and forms, is an important part of the platform of technologies used to deploy application services on the web. But its design presents a performance limitation in many situations. A number of mechanisms for interfacing applications to web servers, from C-callable APIs to network protocols to distributed objects gateways have sprung up to fill the need. Check out Jigsaw and its servlet support.
Agents and Mobile Code
Mobile code can be used to automate information access: searching, brokering, and even manipulating data with mobile agents is an interesting trend.

Schools of Thought

The various players in the distributed objects are separated into camps based on architectural interoperability, and listed in chronological order (roughly).

OSF is the controlling body. The distributed object model inherits from something called TI-RPC, which is C++ish. The RPC system came from Apollo, I think.
Common Object Request Broker Architecture. from OMG, The Object Management Group. Related/derived work:
Microsoft's Component Object Model -- the underpinnings of ActiveX, DCOM, and OLE.
Plan 9
This is the basis of Inferno. The Bell labs guys started over with the "everything is a file" concept. 9P is a really nifty protocol. Supports union links.

Research Notebook: Misc.

These resources have been bookmarked for further study.

Dan Connolly
$Date: 1997/10/02 14:06:57 $

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